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Candidates face off in Hansville forum
"HANSVILLE -- Candidates for state and county offices tackled taxes, education,.and transportation and all in a matter of a few minutes. A candidates' forum held Thursday night at the Hansville Community Center was punctuated with the ding of a bell as candidates were required to keep their remarks brief. The two state senator candidates, incumbent Betti Sheldon (D-Tracyton) and Republican candidate Dan Murphy, of Bainbridge Island were asked if they would be willing to cross party lines to get legislation passed. If we don't work together, we won't be able to serve you, the people of Washington, Sheldon said. Sheldon, who has been a state senator for the past eight years, said she worked with Republicans to provide people in the military with money for college. When asked by an audience member if the state legislature spent $250,000 on millennium parties, Sheldon said no money was spent on parties. Murphy, however, chalked the alleged parties up to frivolous spending in Olympia he said. We have a runaway government, he said. Each candidate had two minutes to introduce him or herself and a minute to answer each question from the audience. They then had a minute and a half at the end of the forum to make closing remarks. Candidates for state senate, state representative position one and two, and county commissioners districts 1 and 2 attended the forum. State House of Representatives 23rd District candidates for positions 1 and 2 addressed transportation, the war on drugs and leadership in government. Incumbent Phil Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge Island) said he helped to allocate $20 million to fund the ferry system until the next legislative session. But he said,We will have to find some way to refinance the ferry system. Republican Phil Rasmussen, of Poulsbo said a change in the direction of the government is needed. Rasmussen is a Naval Academy grad and small business owner. Libertarian candidate Dennis Haynes, of Poulsbo agreed with his Republican counterpart about the need for change and addressed the topic his Democrat counterpart spoke on. There needs to be major changes in what you pay for and what you get, Haynes said. Haynes, a former construction worker, is a senior at Evergreen College. The state doesn't need to be in the ferry business, he said. When an audience member asked what committees the candidates would serve on if elected, each had a niche they wanted to fill. While Haynes opted to serve on a committee that would tackle the medical crisis, Rasmussen would choose the appropriations committee. That's where the power is, he said, adding at the bell that he would see to it the ferry system would get the money it needed. Rockefeller, who has served his first term as 23rd District representative is a Harvard grad. Candidates Beverly Woods (R-Poulsbo), and Poulsbo residents David Harrison (D), and Diane Haynes (LBT) are competing for the 23rd District, position 2. They were asked to explain why salmon is an issue and why (the public) should care. Diane Haynes said salmon is an indicator of how the human population in the area is doing. Woods, the first-term incumbent, agreed that salmon is a sign of a healthy environment. We need to make sure the decisions are the right decisions made with science, not emotions, she said. Harrison also likened the salmon population to the canary in the coal mine. When asked about their educational experiences, the candidates varied from Harvard to heartfelt honesty. I teach students how to get things done, said Harrison, who founded and former director of the Northwest Policy at the University of Washington. He also served for four years on the Bainbridge Island school board where he learned that the little things matter so much. His opponent, Woods, said she has confidence in the public school system that taught not only herself but her children. Haynes, on the other hand, offered some candidness. These guys are emminently more qualified than I am and I am not ashamed of that, she said. Her lack of experience allows her to come in with fresh ideas she said. COUNTY COMMISSIONER Next came the races for county commissioner for District No. 1 and District No.2. District No. 1 incumbent Chris Endresen (D-Poulsbo) and Republican Scott Henden, of Kingston are looking to address different issues if elected. Endresen said she is concentrating her efforts on transportation, enhancing the quality of life by protecting the environment and open space and focusing on the economy. Henden's message emphasizes individual property owner's rights and increasing the number of sheriff's deputies in the county. Republican Dusty Wiley, of Manchester, and Democrat Jan Angel of Port Orchard, who are seeking the south Kitsap District No. 2 seat, were asked if they would take a pay cut to earn the average income in Kitsap County. While Angel said she would take a pay cut on the nearly $70,000 salary, Wiley said he would not. The pay is not out of line ladies and gentlemen, he said. He added he would find other ways to save money for the county. As American as the democratic process, a variety of pies including apple were served after the forum. "